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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    next steps after having an idea?

    I fear, that this forum might not be the proper place to post my question, but I didn't find a better-suiting one. Sorry, mods!

    I hope, I can make you understand the problem, which is even hard to describe in my mother-tongue (without describing my "real" idea in detail).

    Some months ago I had an idea or an concept for a certain feature, that a mobile phone should include. It's just the idea for a feature such as "being able to calculate the days left to my mother's birthday", with the slight difference that imo my idea would be much more useful.

    So, i do know, what I want my mobile and respectively my software to do, but:
    i don't have the programming skills.

    After skimming through german patent law (you cannot protect an idea, you need a prototype) and talking to a lawyer, we decided not to apply for a patent.

    Instead, we thought of going straight to Nokia or some other company, have them signed a "treaty of silence" (?) (like they don't tell anyone about my idea, if they don't buy the idea), sell them my idea and ask for a commision.

    The problem is:
    how can we guarantee, that the company guys don't tell us "oh, nice, we had the very same idea one year ago", and steal our idea?

    Remember, we don't have a patent and we won't get one. We only have the treaty, and even this document can't help us, if they tell us, whether justifiied or lied, that they already had the very same idea.

    Has anyone of you ever faced a problem like that?
    Has anyone ever sold an idea for a software/feature to a company?
    Has anyone been fooled by a company?

    What other possibilities would you recommend to me?

    I would much appreciate, if you could help me!


  2. #2
    Super Contributor
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Re: next steps after having an idea?

    Such a "treaty", as you refer to, is called a Non-Disclosure Agreement, NDA.

    If you sign an NDA with a company, and they use your idea without your consent, all you can do is sue them & they have to prove they had invented the same idea before they talked to you (you should also keep records/proof of when you invented the idea yourself, when and how you contacted the company, who you talked to, etc.).

    In any case, selling/licensing just an idea is not likely to work, if the idea isn't very profitable and non-obvious. (It also should be non-obvious for experts in the field in order to be patentable.)

    And I also suspect it is a very rare case when a manufacturer pays any comission/royalties on just an idea (if it is good and non-obvious, you might get a lump-sum payment for the rights to use it).

    In the case of Nokia, you could try emailing idea@nokia.com with your contact details. Best not include any details on your idea, but just your contact details and why you would like to be contacted.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: next steps after having an idea?

    hello Petrib,

    thanks alot for your answer!

    so you don't think, they're gonna pay us any commision/royalties?

    I think, my idea is very profitable, and though imo it's obvious, nobody else seems to have had it before

    Would you rather recommend contacting a network company such as Vodafone or contacting a producer like Nokia?

    Imo a network company would gain an advantage over their competitors, if they implement the feature I thought of in the mobiles they sell. And the feature could only be used in their network.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: next steps after having an idea?

    any further recommendations?

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